Embracing the Unknown in America 12

by Spencer Irwin

This article will contain SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

America opened with its title character ready to try something new, with the unfathomably strong, uber-competent hero deciding she had more to learn and heading off to school to learn it. America 12, the series’ grand finale, returns to this idea, with America saving the day by quite literally diving into the unknown and finding a way to fight her enemy that, for once, doesn’t involve her fists. It’s a beautiful sentiment, but one that works better in concept than in execution. Continue reading

America’s Joy Defines America 11

by Spencer Irwin

This article will contain SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

America‘s often breathless pace works to its favor in issue 11, a transition issue that manages to serve as an epilogue to the previous storyline while also diving head-first into the next, mixing heartfelt character moments with genuine thrills and actions, with none feeling out of place or poorly paced. For the moment, America Chavez is in a good place, and her joy shines through in this issue loud and clear. Continue reading

The Strength of Heritage vs. the Evils of Cultural Appropriation in America 10

by Spencer Irwin

America 10

This article will contain SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

For better or for worse, America 10 brings all of the series’ developments thus far to a climax. Writer Gabby Rivera’s (assisted on art by Flaviano and Jen Bartel) attempts to find roles for the majority of America’s allies makes the issue feel overcrowded, especially since most of their efforts don’t really play a role in America’s victory, but her further exploration of the racial and cultural conflict between America and Oubliette (which I first talked about when covering issue 8) is far more successful. Rivera has a message she wants to get across, and it makes this issue feel focused and vital in a way the rest of this storyline sometimes hasn’t. Continue reading

Great Ideas Fizzle Out in America 9

by Spencer Irwin

This article will contain SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

One of America‘s greatest strengths as a title is that it’s chock-full of fantastic ideas; unfortunately, one of its greatest weaknesses is that it often doesn’t give those fantastic ideas enough room to breathe and succeed. America 9 is a frustrating installment in that way, blowing through the meaty ideas of last month’s issue (plus a whole host of new concepts) so fast that none have room to land. Continue reading

History as a Weapon (and a Motivation) in America 8

by Spencer Irwin

This article will contain SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

When I was first introduced to America Chavez in the pages of Young Avengers, she was a bad-ass, taciturn woman of mystery. As time has passed, though, we’ve come to learn far more about her personality, her methods, and — especially within the pages of Gabby Rivera and Joe Quinones’ America — her history. She still has the qualities that made me fall in love with her in the first place, but she’s also become more predictable and easier to sum-up.

For example, I took one look at this panel — of America explicitly breaking the rules the moment they’re announced — and thought ‘Yup, that’s America in a nutshell.’ Oubliette the Exterminatrix — the evil who’s been recently stalking America, and who finally makes her move in America 8 — has been paying as much attention to America’s history as readers have, and it gives her just the ammunition she needs to take America down. Continue reading

A History and a Destiny Revealed in America 7

by Spencer Irwin

This article will contain SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

America Chavez is a self-made hero. She chose to follow in her mothers’ heroic footsteps instead of staying safe in utopia forever, and likewise chose her goals and domain very carefully. With the entire multiverse at her fingertips, she’s chosen to call Earth-616 her home, originally to watch over Billy Kaplan, but now because it’s where her friends are, where she’s laid down roots. This DIY image is a stark contrast to her grandmother Madrimar, who has devoted her life to following the will of the spirits and watching over her home planet, and seems to believe that it’s America’s destiny to do the same. Continue reading

Howard the Duck 11

howard-the-duck-11

Today, Spencer and Taylor are discussing Howard the Duck 11, originally released October 12th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: On her twitter, Gail Simone recently discussed something she calls the “Batmobile Effect.” In short, it’s the exhilarating feeling a creator gets when they realize they’re working on a comic icon, on a character they grew up adoring and now, all of a sudden, are in charge of. That feeling right there describes much of the appeal of writing for Marvel or DC — the downside, of course, is that you never truly “own” a character. At the Big Two there’s only so much a writer can change a character because, when their run is over, it has to go right back into the “toy box” for another creator to use.

Howard the Duck 11 brings Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones’ run to an end, and the two show an exquisite understanding of how to handle a work-for-hire ending. Zdarsky and Quinones have truly made Howard their own, yet leave the character in better condition than when they found him, leaving the door open for future creators to try their hand at Howard as well. It’s a skill their in-story counterparts, Chipp and Jho, never quite grasp. Continue reading

Wizard World Philadelphia 2016

 

wizard world philly 2016

Spencer: Someday I will go to a ComicCon that isn’t Wizard World Philly (which I’ve attended, and covered, for three years now), but in the meantime, it’s close, I love Philadelphia, and I have a great time there, so I’ll keep coming back. For all my familiarity with this con, though, there’s always something new going on that takes me by surprise. That’s a necessity, I suppose — stagnation no doubt equals death at these things — but it does mean that, even as an experienced con-goer, I need to be prepared in order to get everything done that I’d like to. Really, that’s a great lesson for any ComicCon, any event, and just life in general: always check out the website first, always make up a battle plan, and always go in prepared. It’s certainly what I did, and I had a great weekend because of it. Continue reading